Poetry Spotlight: The World Will Follow Joy by Alice Walker

alicewalkerThis is Walker’s 10th volume of poetry, and was published in 2013.


If my sorrow were deeper
I’d be, along with you, under
the ocean’s floor;
but today I learn that the oil
that pools beneath the ocean floor
is essence
of all our
our ancestors who have died and turned to oil
without our witness
eons ago.
We’ve always belonged to them.
Speaking for you, hanging, weeping, over the water’s edge
as well as for myself.
It is our grief
heavy, relentless,
us, however resistant,
to the decaying and rotten
bottom of things:
our grief bringing
us home.


Poetry Spotlight: Dog Songs by Mary Oliver

9780143125839Dog Songs by Mary Oliver is for all dog lovers. These poems try to capture all that we love about our longtime canine companions. This is a very sweet and lovely book.

A dog can never tell you what she knows from the

smells of the world, but you know, watching her, that you know

almost nothing.

Poetry Spotlight: Watchdog of Baltimore by Hyman Pressman

561981927.0.mThis is exactly the kind of Baltimore ephemera (especially in book form) that I live for. Hyman Pressman was the comptroller of Baltimore from 1963-1991. I don’t have any memories of him since he was before my time but, he seemed like quite the character.

For the purpose of this post, he was a compulsive verse writer. At the drop of a hat he would pen a few lines to commemorate an event, a person, and his sports teams.

Watchdog came out in 1977. Pressman died in 1996 (obit)



Our City Hall is a hundred years old.

They claim the dome was never sold.

With so much hot air, it’s none too soon.

To put it all in a hot-air balloon.


Poetry Spotlight: A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver


My favorite poem from this collection is called “TODAY”. Sometimes, I like sitting outside, away from others, being quiet and just listening. “Today”, in part, speaks to that.


Today I’m flying low and I’m
not saying a word.
I’m letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep.

The world goes on as it must,
the bees in the garden rumbling a little,
the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten.
And so forth.

But I’m taking the day off.
Quiet as a feather.
I hardly move though really I’m traveling
a great distance.

Stillness. One of the doors
Into the temple.

Poetry Spotlight: How to be Drawn by Terrance Hayes

61tymKs+IIL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_I go into every new-to-me collection with an open mind. Or, better yet, no preconceived notions. Some collections I wind up liking, other less so. This one was definitely in the former category.

I actually wound up reading this one twice.

Two poems to highlight.

The first is called “Instructions for a Seance With Vladimirs“. If I’m being honest I’m not sure what, structurally, makes this a poem. But who cares, because it was fucking hilarious.

The second is called “Black Confederate Ghost Story“. This one is powerful and modern and honest.

I wish I were as tolerant as Walt Whitman
waltzing across the battlefield like a song
covering a cry of distress, but I want to be a storm

covering a confederate parade.



Poetry Spotlight: a beautiful composition of broken by r.h. Sin

35015965This was another random grab from the poetry shelf at the library.

This one didn’t fully work for me, but I’m glad I was exposed to it. Which is part of the point in reading poetry, to be exposed to voices that I may not otherwise encounter.

r.h. Sin is an Instagram 


i know too much

and say too little

while screaming

on the inside